Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP)

Platelet-rich plasma (abbreviated PRP) is an injection treatment often used for tendon and cartilage injuries. PRP is obtained from the patient's own blood, which is drawn and then spun at high speeds on a centrifuge machine. This separates the blood into layers, one of which is a layer rich in platelets and growth factors known to be important in muscle and tendon healing. (These include transforming growth  factor-beta, platelet-derived growth factor, fibroblast growth factor, insulin-like growth factors, and vascular endothelial growth factor.) This  layer is then isolated and injected back into the patient at the site of injury.

PRP has received much attention in the popular media as a result of its use in treating sports injuries in a number of high-profile professional  athletes. However, existing research regarding the effectiveness of PRP is very unclear. Physicians have tried using PRP to enhance healing after  surgeries such as ACL reconstruction and rotator cuff repair with inconsistent and mixed results. PRP appears to be more useful in the non-operative  treatment of soft-tissue injuries such as chronic tendonitis (e.g. tennis elbow), and ligament injuries (e.g. MCL strains). In the world of cartilage  injury, PRP may have a role as an injection treatment for arthritis. More often, it is used to enhance healing of cartilage surgeries such as  microfracture and cartilage grafting.

At this point, additional research is needed to fully define the role of PRP and to determine in which settings it might—or might not—be valuable.  Accordingly, most insurance companies currently view PRP injections as “experimental” and most policies do not cover PRP injections. This issues  should be discussed with your physician before undergoing PRP treatment.

Satisfied SOS Patients

Dr. Battaglia was extremely professional, had wonderful bedside manner, and was completely honest from the start. During the entire process, he was keeping our daughters best intentions first. He was the key factor in getting further testing and results produced extremely quickly.

- Courtney